Hello AwakenYou listeners, I am coming off of a week-long celebration of my birthday, but who am I kidding, I have been celebrating all month! I actually really celebrate this life every day, I have so much to be grateful for, and today I want to celebrate you. Thank you all so much for showing up every week, taking what I share, and applying it to your life. If I’ve learned anything it is to celebrate our wins, no matter the size because it’s in those small wins that the big goals are created and if we don’t go back to see what we’ve accomplished, we’ll keep reaching in the future for our joy which is a never-ending joy thief. Before I dig helping you move beyond thinking your marriage problems are all your fault I want to remind all of you of my free Abundant Love Mini-Course. In this course, I teach you about how our thinking affects your marital relationship and as you examine those thoughts you will create a love list resource that helps you re-direct your thinking when you see that it isn’t serving you, like thinking that your marriage problems are your fault. You can download the course today by going directly to this show’s notes and begin building positive thoughts about your marriage. Today I want to take a look at something that comes up when individuals start doing the work of changing their marriage without changing their spouse. Often when people start this work they are excited to finally do something that is all about them and their own personal growth while at the same time, they are unhappy in their marriage. When they begin feeling better about themselves and they are taking bold steps to take their power back in their marriage they start to see things change and they begin to ask themselves “Are our marital problems all my fault? I mean, here it is me doing the work, them doing nothing and our relationship is feeling better, what’s the deal if it isn’t my fault?”
This episode is above all inspiration for all of you out there doing the challenging and rewarding work of changing your marriage without changing your spouse. I know this work can have lulls of loneliness where we wish our partner would step it up and take some of the ownership in the relationship. But here’s the thing, that is why you are here, you’re not interested in settling, you want to create your best life, you’re tired of dreaming and not creating. You are a leader and an influencer and yes, sometimes it does get lonely, you want the team to cooperate, or at least in the way you think they should cooperate. Let’s look at what if it is all your fault, what if your spouse was a relationship master and they married you, then we’ll go back to your reasons for doing this work, and lastly, I will share some hope for down the road.
What if your relationship problems WERE all your fault?
Let’s go there. If all of the things that aren’t working in your marriage are your fault then this would be easy because it would mean that your spouse is a relationship master and that they know all things relationships AND they chose you! That’s fun!
In all seriousness, that would be fun because that would mean that they would be all in on this work that you are doing and everything you bring up in conversation about what’s not working for you would be met with cool level-headed curiosity. If they were a relationship master they would be all in on working with you to create what each of you want in your marriage, so why do you think they aren’t doing this work with you?
There could be several reasons your spouse isn’t doing the work with you. It could be you chose to do this work yourself, for you, and when you’re thinking you’re the problem, well that’s one of the things we’re digging into! We’re looking at why you’re thinking this, where else this shows up in your life, and how it’s making you feel (guilty, full of shame?). When we look at it simplistically, it’s no wonder you feel like you’re chasing your tail when you think that these problems must be all your fault!
More often some of the reasons they may not be doing the work with you are that they don’t want to invest the time and energy to look inside, they don’t think they’re the problem or they don’t think there is a problem and possibly, they are doing the work. It’s quite possible they are watching you from a distance, observing the changes you are making, listening to how you speak or don’t speak, and contemplating how they are going to participate in this process. It’s possible they are sitting back to see if this is going to last, should they let their defenses down or should they keep the walls up for a bit longer to see where all of this goes. What if that was what was going on behind the scenes?
Come back to your reasons for doing this work
Truth be told, as you do this work for yourself, it doesn’t matter what their reason is, what matters is that you want to change, grow and get better while letting them be who they are. Because this work changes you from the inside out, that change can’t not change your marriage and how your spouse shows up in it. When we show up differently, everyone around us reacts to us differently. When we come back to our reasons we can stay focused on how we are feeling and as we grow self-confident and courageous we get better at sharing how we are feeling with our spouses and being less afraid of how they react when we open up and share. Again, we are opening up and sharing to support the team, if you think they’re not interested or that they think what you’re doing is worthless we let it be, we are developing a firm belief in ourselves and the work we are doing while letting them have their own personal opinion.
Hope for your future
Sometimes the reason our spouses aren’t doing this work is fear of revealing their own weaknesses, possibly one of the reasons it took you as long as it did to start this journey. Fear of discovering that they are the problem, maybe even validating our own inner fear – that there is something wrong with us. The good news is that often when you start opening up to what you want, when you start becoming vulnerable and real, it gives them permission to eventually do the same, allow it to marinate, and take its time to happen.
Many times what I see happen is either the partner sees so much growth in their spouse that they want the same results and decide to work with a coach themselves then eventually many of my clients end up coming together to continue this journey as a couple. The other steps in tenderly, cautiously, and a bit defensively until they start to see that this work isn’t about beating them up for what they are doing wrong, but instead they learn that it’s helping them to open up to what they actually want.
What I want you to know is that no matter what they do, the goal of this work isn’t to “fix” them in your marriage, but to step into the partner you want to be, the partner who shows up as fully lovable and who is showing up making sure they are giving as much as they hope to get. All the while, as you do this work of being the best loving spouse you can be, the spouse who shows up in the way she would show up for herself, you get to continually evaluate and re-decide whether you choose your spouse or not. You become more committed to what you want in the relationship and share that with an open heart. You get to invite them along on the journey to a happier, more loving, fun life together. No one person is ever at fault in a relationship breakdown, it is a relationship where both people want to examine themselves and be honest about how they are showing up for themselves and their spouse while doing the courageous work of being open and honest about each person’s needs and desires.
Next time you think that your relationship problems might be all your fault I want you to pause and wrap your arms around yourself in a warm, compassionate hug. You, my friend, are awesome, you are beautiful and you are growing into your potential, I high-five salute you. March on!
I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.